New COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Guidelines Meant to Address Slow Vaccine Rollout

The Trump administration expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to address the inefficient rollout of the vaccine, which has met bottlenecks, delays and general confusion.

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Federal health officials are hoping that delays in COVID-19 vaccine distribution may be alleviated by new guidelines issued January 12. 

In response to bottlenecks in the vaccination rollout, the Trump administration expanded vaccine eligibility to anyone age 65 and older and anyone under the age of 65 with a health condition

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Initial COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Has Been Slow

The initial wave of vaccinations was reserved for frontline health care workers and nursing home residents as part of prioritization guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the rigid prioritization rules contributed to hampering the pace of administering the vaccine.

Despite more than 25 million doses of the vaccine being distributed across the country, only around 9 million shots have actually been administered.

States have contended with health care workers refusing the vaccine, limited staffing, inadequate funding and what many describe as poor communication from the federal government and other administrative roadblocks. Some unused doses have even ended up in the trash can when no eligible recipient was available to take it. 

Trump Administration Hopes to Spur Increased Vaccination

The Trump administration hopes that the recent widening of vaccine eligibility will open up the floodgates by no longer forcing older adults to wait their turn. In addition, the administration will no longer keep millions of doses in reserve for the second round of the two-dose vaccine. 

“States are being told immediately they need to expand to 65-plus as well as those under 65 with comorbid conditions,” an anonymous administration official told CNBC.   

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced the new administration would release all doses held in reserve. 

The previous goals set by the federal government were to have 20 million people vaccinated by the end of 2020 and 50 million by the end of January. Biden has set a goal of 100 million vaccinations within the first 100 days of his presidential term. 

Learn more about Medicare coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.


About the author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

Christian has written hundreds of articles for that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

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